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Putting numbers to just how much the loss of Ryan Shazier hurt the Steelers defense

As if you didn’t already know the Steelers missed Ryan Shazier...

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Pittsburgh Steelers Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone who watches football and follows the Pittsburgh Steelers knows how bad the team’s defense missed Ryan Shazier after his back injury vs. the Bengals on the dreadful Monday night.

However, during the past few months the majority of the comments and remarks made have been of the very general variety.

“They sure did miss Shazier.”

“The Steelers just weren’t the same without No. 50.”

All very true comments, but what about specifics? What about exactly how bad the Steelers missed Shazier?

Matt Williamson provided just that when he tweeted the following on his verified Twitter account:

Some might see this and say, “Well it is just under 2-yards...big deal.”

Exactly, it is a big deal. 2-yards is the equivalent of a 3rd and 5, and a 3rd and 3. I could go on, but in football two yards means more than the average fan may know. The other aspect of Williamson’s statistic is how it is all based around the team’s 3-4 defense. The fact remains the team simply doesn’t use their base defense anymore.

However, it shouldn’t diminish the fact of the Steelers’ defense being significantly weaker without Shazier. He wasn’t a downhill linebacker who only played in specific situations. No, he was an every down backer who was the leader of the entire unit. His production was missed, and it is evident in the statistic above.